The reality of a 9-month overwintering stay at Bamsebu has hit! The list of provisions seemed like a never ending project and so enormous that it was really hard to hit the send button to place the food order. So grateful for the support from Eurosupply! I mean how much chocolate and potato chips would you need for 9 months, we ask?
We got dropped off at Bamsebu, 140 km from Longyearbyen, on August 2nd for our 2 week prep trip. It was non-stop. Before we go on- we have to share that on Day #1 Sunniva saw her first Polar bear at Bamsebu. A large male that kept looking at us but then wandered off behind the ridge. It was our reminder that there are about 6 Bears that frequent our area and no trip outside is without a weapon for safety and a 360’ check around the area. The first day was rich with wildlife; goose, blue foxes and over 2 dozen beluga in the bay. It was the best welcoming ever. And the weather was beautiful! Summer was still there.
There has been enormous support from many people, numerous logistical challenges and so many small and large things to manage. The new oven from Grønt Maskin AS. Solar bank/panels, batteries and wind turbines from Dag at Power Controlls were the first bit of heavy lifting we did. Craned down from a Bring cargo ship- Nordbjorn-and placed ever so gently into our boat for the ride to the shores of Bamsebu. Phew- calm seas.
We tested our Met Ocean/MCD Mission Link with Iridium’s Certus Satellite and sent the first ever email from Bamsebu. We named our network : “Hearts in the Ice”. The phone calls were crystal clear though we both still have things to sort out with data and how best to manage. Dates for our monthly school calls have been set so for any teachers out there- make sure to sign your class up. More information can be found on our school page here.
We went through so much gear and equipment to make sure it all fits and that it works. Gear from NOFI, Dewalt, Devold, Outdoor Research, ArcTeryx, Garmin, Canada Goose, Hansen Protection Coco mat, Det lille under, Felleskjøpet and so much more.
We measured walls and how much storage space we have, put up new shelves and took out all things from the cabin that we don’t need. The hut “Bamsebu” has been used as a trappers cabin and no one has ever stayed there over a winter so a lot of adjustments have been needed.
We took a trolley up and over the hill to get as much water possible in a 32 gallon container until our last attempt and the stream was dry- not a good sign. We chopped alot of wood- so much we both had backaches- but all this will make us stronger we say with a smile.
We set up a pulley system for the boat so that it could sit 50 metres off shore. Nofi had the rig all set up for us- it was perfect.
We went down to the beach and hauled 2 giant logs up to the hut for more wood and then we went swimming. Well let’s just say a quick dip. It is the Arctic Ocean after all!
Hilde went 4 times and Sunniva 2, so I guess you could say the contest is on!
We also went for a few good runs along the spit which felt fantastic and was so invigorating. Exercise and routine will be so important for us during the 9 months. Especially since I think we ordered too much chocolate and potato chips.
Two last items to share with all of you. I know many of you thought that we would be mostly alone during our 2 week prep trip to Bamsebu and we did too. However, on our first morning we heard a knock on the door. It was one of many mornings (5 to be exact) where we had cruise ships with guests visit the area. The hut itself is a historic landmark and often visited during the Arctic Summer. Sunniva got to say hi to her colleague at Polar Latitudes Annette Bombosch and Hilde had a visit from her colleagues at Hurtigruten. It was surreal! Our Hearts in the Ice community is growing –our changing climate concerns us all and needs us all.
Our last visit was from the M/S Spitsbergen with NRK (National TV for Norway) filming for a Svalbard special that will come out Jan 31- Feb 8th called “Minutt for Minutt”. There was a lot of filming and interviews with us before we joined them all onboard for a ride back to Longyearbyen. All this and the big adventure still awaits.
Our official send-off voyage departs from Longyearbyen Sept 13th with special guests that include scientists, press, artists, explorers, guides, historians, researchers, sponsors, Advisory board members, science partners, professional musicians, healers, shaman, filmmakers, friends and family.
Our Blog will be updated 1 x week starting in September so sign up here to make sure you receive your weekly updates from us at Bamsebu.
Thank you so much to the thousands of supporters of this timely project to communicate and create positive engagement around climate change and what each one of can do to make a small difference.
All the best from Norway.
The countdown is on- less than 2 weeks to go…
xx Hilde and Sunniva
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